The Daily Manila Shimbun


ICC continues looking into alleged killings in the Philippines

December 6, 2018

The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Wednesday said they will continue investigating alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the Philippines has been under preliminary investigation since February 8, 2018 and received a total of 52 communications in relation to the situation.

"The preliminary examination focuses on crimes allegedly committed in the Philippines since at least July 1, 2016, in the context of the so-called war on drugs campaign launched by the government," Bensouda said in her four-page annual report on the Philippines.

She said over 12,000 people were allegedly killed under this campaign, with over 4,800 deaths happening in police operations.

Bensouda said ICC has been assessing the information they received to establish whether these incidents falls within the jurisdiction of the international court.

"The Office has focused on recording, on an ongoing basis, relevant alleged incidents and examining the circumstances," she said in her report.

Commission on Human Rights chairman Chito Gascon on Thursday said they hope the International Criminal Court will respond to their call in serving justice for victims of human rights violations under the Duterte administration.

"Next year, we hope our friends in the international community may respond to the calls we have been making," Gascon said in his speech at the first Human Rights Congress in Quezon City.

Gascon claimed "out of fear", President Rodrigo Duterte decided that the Philippines leave the ICC after it decided to conduct preliminary investigation on his administration's "war on illegal drugs".

He said the Philippines will be present for the annual conference of parties in Hague, Netherlands.

"The Philippine government is to speak in The Hague," Gascon said. "We shall watch, we shall listen, we shall stand up until justice is achieved," he added.

Duterte slammed both organizations for criticizing his war on illegal drugs campaign.

This made Duterte decide to pull the Philippines out of the criminal court on March 17.

ICC said the withdrawal will be effective one year after depositing a written notification but the court retains the jurisdiction with respect to alleged crimes committed during the period the Philippines was a member. Ella Dionisio/DMS